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Farmington school board hears reports

The Farmington Board of Education met in regular session Tuesday night to swear in board members, recognize individuals and hear district reports.

Before the regular meeting, the board saw the oaths of office administered to Dolores Howard and Kurt Bauche.

The regular meeting was begun by Alternative Programs Director Susan Barber recognizing members of Farmington Christian Church Disciples of Christ as the Heartland Heroes for their “adoption” of a district campus.

“These good people, ministering from their church, have adopted the students and the staff at W.L Johns,” Barber said. “They provide us and them with food, drinks and celebratory gifts. You ought to see the kids jump up when they see these folks coming with their goodies.”

Barber said the folks from the church model to students the idea that people can be good and the worth of helping others.

Next, Barber introduced Farmington’s April Featured Teacher, Jerry Will.

“Jerry has been the leader in alternative academics for over 15 years,” she said. “Others follow his lead, as it’s obvious that he understands and displays to his students, the power of knowledge. He continuously explains and shows students that education is the way to turn a life around.”

Director of Business Services Don Eaton next reported on the district’s recent admission into the MAAA insurance consortium.

“I think everybody’s going to save money this year,” Eaton said. “The district’s going to save money on their board-paid plan and I think our employees that buy-up into coverage polices are going to save money as well.”

Superintendent Matt Ruble reiterated Eaton’s point, saying that the savings for staff is a clear win for the district.

“Obviously, the plan structure is very important,” Ruble said. “The options for our staff is very important. For our staff to be able to buy-up and spend roughly $12 to $13 for a $2,000 deductible plan is a huge win, when before it cost us $50, $60, $70 a month to buy-up to a $2,000 deductible.”

Following Eaton’s report, Dr. Ashley Krause reported on the district’s progress in implementing multi-tiered systems of support, or MTSS, which seek to holistically address student’s needs.

“Farmington has been working on systems within MTSS for, I would say, three years,” Krause said. “The first year we began, we started with a working definition of what we believe the Farmington School District should be, for MTSS.

“Basically, we want to be an environment where creation of problem-solving is the culture — to support the whole child, whether it has to do with behavior, academics, reading, mathematics, mental health, attendance, safety — anything where we could potentially have a problem come up. We want to be viewed as a problem-solving culture.”

Krause said the approach is based on the idea that no single individual in the district has every answer to solve a student’s various possible issues, which leads to a team approach to addressing those issues. She stressed the importance of focusing on evidence-based, data-driven approaches to improving student outcomes, beginning with getting the involved staff on the same page.

“We determined very quickly that within the administrators and the leadership group, we were not speaking the same language,” she said.

In the first year of implementing MTSS, Krause said the focus was to introduce administrators and district leaders to the terminology and methods for addressing student issues. She said it was important to take the process at a slower pace, making sure that every step was accomplished correctly.

Krause showed the board models of intervention in several realms of student progress, including discipline, academics, attendance and mental health. She said it may seem easier to address each of those arenas separately, they are often inseparable and interlocked.

“When all systems come together to talk about the whole child — then you’re doing MTSS,” she said.

The board then approved the consent agenda items and adjourned to closed session.

Dolores Howard and Kurt Bauche take their oaths of office before the regular meeting of the Farmington Board of Education Tuesday night.

Dolores Howard and Kurt Bauche take their oaths of office before the regular meeting of the Farmington Board of Education Tuesday night.

Dr. Ashley Krause delivers a report on the implementation of multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) to the Farmington Board of Education Tuesday night.

Dr. Ashley Krause delivers a report on the implementation of multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) to the Farmington Board of Education Tuesday night.

Jacob Scott is a reporter with the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3616 or at jscott@dailyjournalonline.com.

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